Apple’s retail tax bill on UK sales is surprisingly low


Cash app with cash money
Apple paid $7.8 million, according to a new report.
Photo: Ian Fuchs/Cult of Mac

Apple paid 6.2 million British pounds ($7.8 million) on U.K. retail sales of $1.37 billion and gross profits of $337 million last year, a report published by i News claims.

The publication viewed Apple’s latest annual results filing at Companies House, and found that Apple Retail UK was able to reduce its pre-tax profit to only $39 million after accounting for costs and expenses.

The report notes that Apple’s UK business paid a 25 million pound dividend to Apple Retail Europe, based in Ireland. The taxable period was the year ending September 2019.

A spokesperson for Apple told i that: “As the largest taxpayer in the world, we know the important role tax payments play in society and always pay all that we owe. We are very proud of our many contributions across the UK and last year spent over £2bn with hundreds of suppliers. Our investment and innovation supports more than 325,000 jobs in the UK and, in addition to our tax contributions, we also think it’s important to do more for people and society. We focused our attention on supporting the response to Covid-19, making significant financial contributions and donating face masks and shields here in the UK.”

Apple has a total of 38 Apple Stores in the UK. It employs 5,012 people in the country.

Apple and tax

Multinational corporation Apple’s tax contributions have been a repeated subject of scrutiny over recent years. According to British organization Fair Tax Mark, tech giants, Apple included, have avoided more than $100 billion in taxes over the past decade. Germany’s finance minister Olaf Scholz has slammed tech giants that “pay taxes nowhere.”

Most famously, the European Commission ordered Apple pay $16 billion in August 2016. This was to make up for back taxes, which Apple had reportedly not paid. Apple continues to dispute the amount and is currently battling it in court.

Several countries have put forward proposals targeting tech giants. For instance, the U.K. has proposed a 2% digital services tax on tech firms which make more than $653 million per year. However, this has yet to be signed into law.

Apple, for its part, says it pays every cent that it owes. During a 2015 “Inside Apple” episode of 60 Minutes, Tim Cook labelled reports that Apple doesn’t pay its taxes as, “total political crap.” Since then, he has said that a rethink is needed of international tax codes. In a June interview with CBS, Cook said that, “Our responsibility is to pay what we owe … My own view is that you pay what you owe in taxes, and then you give back to society.”